Saving money is on the top of everyone’s minds these days. Between job losses, benefit losses, and the rising cost of just about everything it is easy to see why many people are seeking out new ways to save money. One of the first places that you should look for savings is in your own home and your electricity spending. Most people can cut their electric bill significantly by making small changes that cost nothing or very little. If you have some money to spend there are a few big changes you can make that will cut costs and earn your money back for you in short order.
- Unplug things you do not use – Every item that is plugged into an outlet is drawing power, even if it is switched off. Go through your home and unplug everything that is non-essential. Lamps, clocks, televisions, coffee pots, and toasters should all be unplugged when they are not actually being used. You will be shocked to see how many of those items never get plugged in or only get plugged in on rare occasions.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs – If you have not already done this now is the time to start. You are probably finding it harder and harder to find those old incandescent light bulbs any way so take the plunge and switch to compact fluorescent. Although they cost a bit more to purchase, they last a lot longer and save an average of $35 over the life of the bulb. They usually last 10 years and have the added benefit of not burning hot like the incandescent ones.
- Get new appliances – The adage, if it is not broke don’t fix it is not true when it comes to cutting your energy bill. Even if your old refrigerator or dishwasher run fine, if they are not energy efficient they should be replaces. The cost to run old appliances is high and you will earn your money back pretty quickly once you switch to energy star rated new ones.
- Control the temperature – Your home does not need to be heated or cooled at the same temperature all day and night. If you install programmable thermostats you can set it to be cool or warm when you are active in the house and adjust when you are not home or are asleep. Your family will not notice the fluctuations in temperature but you will see a big change on your bill.
- Install solar power panels – Yes, this is an expensive option. However, with the growing use of solar energy it is getting constantly getting less expensive. If you want to make a smaller investment you can even get solar cells to operate small items. However, generating solar power will cut down on your electric bill significantly and can even earn money by allowing you to sell back your overflow. There are also loads of government incentives available to cut down on the initial cost.
- Use cold water to wash clothes – Almost everything you buy can or should be washed in cold water anyway so do not waste money by laundering things in warm or hot water unless it is absolutely necessary. Most times it is not necessary, so unless your child has brought lice home from school keep that setting on cold and you will save lots of cash.
We all want to keep more of our money in our pockets. By saving money on electricity you can easily cut down your household budget and have more money to make continual energy improvements. Most of these things are so easy to do that your family will not even realize they are tightening their energy belts.
Alban is a personal finance writer at Home Loan Finder, which offer free information on home equity loans